I figure a good game to practice with will be Ys 1 due to the simplicity of the controls and the general awesomeness of the game in general.
If I become savvy enough with it to beat Ys 1, then perhaps it won't be too much of a jump to move to Ys 2, where magic is also a factor.
I'm optimistic about Ys 1, because the whole game really centers around movement, but requires a lot of precision... very little to "learn", but plenty to master.
I'm a little worried about Ys 2 because it requires you to sometimes charge magic, and sometimes spam it. I haven't actually USED the EPOC yet (it should arrive next week) so I don't know how easy/difficult either of those tasks are. For some reason the idea of spamming the thought "fire" seems exhausting, but hopefully it's not too much different from spamming the fire key (in terms of mental exertion).
For those curious, this whole experiment is possible because the EPOC is bundled with a piece of software called EmoKey which translates thoughts to keystrokes specifically for the purpose of gaming.
Very interesting! I had not realized that devices like these were sold commercially yet.
Playing through Ys I would be a great start, but the "True" challenge would be beating Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid to see which mind is superior in battle. "Only a fool trusts his life to a weapon!"... wait that's Ninja. Well you could take him down as well. : )
The EPOC came in today in it's nice fancy package; everything seemed to be more or less in working order; one of the little sensor pads broke (sort of) but still functions (it was a simple matter of some glue coming undone, and I was able to fit it back together - no matter how high tech things get, they're still held together by glue, screws and plastic unfortunately)
To make a long and tedious story short, I got the thing working, more or less; not all of the sensors gave me the "green", possibly partially due to my hair being slightly on the shaggy side, it's been a few weeks since I've had it cut. Also, I'm not sure if the pads were properly hydrated. Never the less, I got about 12 out the 16 sensors showing green, which is close enough for the EPOC to let you play. As for how that effects things... I have NO clue at this point.
So anyway, to the part you guys are probably wondering about: I got into both games, Ys 1 and Ys 2. I had a saved game on Ys 2 already so I started with it, mostly out of impatience. I can say that I officially walked around Rance village using nothing but brain signals to control Adol. That's not to say that I did it particularly gracefully, or quickly for that matter!
Remember when you were a kid, and you thought that walking your cat around on a leash like a dog would be an awesome thing to do, for some reason? That's sort of what walking Adol around with the EPOC was like. "Alright... up... no not just one step, keep walking up! Okay, alright... hey stop, don't talk to that guy! Go down... DOWN, damnit! *sigh* Fine, go left. It works! Now go right! DAMNIT that's left!"
This seemed a lot less daunting in the imagination phase, but I still believe it's do-able. It's going to take a significant amount more practice, calibration, re-calibration, and more practice before I'will be able to clear either game on even the easiest difficulty.
The issue is this: Obviously it's possible for the brain to have very intense and delicate control over things; we do it all the time in our daily life. The thing is our brains and our bodies sort of came wired together out of the box. It was pretty intuitive to pick up the basics.
Now this device, which sits on your head, is essentially "reading" your thoughts; however, they're not communicating in any sort of "language"; your brain is spewing signals, some of which can be sensed through your skull, and the machine is simply acknowledging them. For every tiny little thing you want the headset to do, you have to give it the thought instruction, hope it receives it clearly (and there's really no way to tell if it did, or what "parts" of the thought it recognized and what it didn't), bind it to a key, and then you activate that key with that thought. It lets you designate whether you want it to hold the key and for how long and if you want a delay in there, yada yada.
So a tough question: How does one think "move down" by just staring at a config screen? It's tougher than it sounds, I think. I have a theory... I'm going to try playing Ys 1 on my lap top while configuring the headset on my desk top PC. That way I can very literally record the "move Adol down" action precisely as I would think about it normally. Hopefully between that, a haircut, and re-hydrating the sensor pads, I'will be able to make some more significant progress to report!
It does sounds like it would be a challenge to learn how to control this and perhaps the technology isn't ready for some of the subtleties that we take for granted using our hands to operate a controller. But I'm guessing that worst comes to worst, if you can record the input such as that Adol only moves a slight amount in any one direction, you could at least get by with something like:
UP-UP-UP-UP-UP-RIGHT-RIGHT-RIGHT(Making contact with enemy's shoulder)RIGHT-RIGHT-RIGHT(Enemy defeated)DOWN-DOWN-DOWN, et cetera. It's more commands to output using your brainwaves, but it might be the right direction for getting used to the controls. I've never messed around with a device like this, so please keep us posted on this. It's a truly a fascinating concept. : )